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UK Biobank’s Participant Resource Centre located at Cardiff part of a major new COVID-19 study

27 May 2020

UK Biobank

UK Biobank’s Participant Resource Centre based at Cardiff University in the Division of Population Medicine, is proving to be an important link in the chain supporting UK Biobank’s major study of coronavirus immunity.

A major new study into coronavirus immunity led by UK Biobank (UKB), supported by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and developed with the Wellcome Trust has been launched this month.

The study will recruit 20,000 people from existing UKB participants, their adult children, and grandchildren.

This is the first time UKB has recruited to a study that includes the next generation of participants. Participants will return by post monthly finger prick blood samples over 6 months.

These samples will be analysed for COVID-19 antibody levels in order to better understand the immunity levels across the UK and contribute to the body of information being used to ease lock-down measures.

View more information about the study.

To support UKB’s COVID-19 antibody project, the study’s Participant Resource Centre located in the Division of Population Medicine at Cardiff University has developed a remote contact centre.

This has been a swift and challenging process, as it became apparent to the team in Cardiff that the high mailing campaign needed to recruit participants into the COVID-19 study could not be adequately supported through email alone. Therefore, Maggie Gregory and Jon Scattergood (managers of the Participant Resource Centre) explored options available for a remote telephone contact centre.

On providing the business case to the UKB project leads they were given the green light to set up the remote centre. In less than a week, through working long hours in conjunction with their telephone supplier, Glamorgan Telecom, they were able to launch a remote contact centre consisting of a cloud platform linked to mobile handsets distributed to the PRC team for use in their homes.

During this period, they also trained, through Microsoft Teams, the 10 members of staff on all aspects of the study and on how to use the new telephone system.

Since recruitment to this study, which commenced on the 7th May, the PRC has been taking more than 300 telephone calls a day dealing with all aspects of participant queries.

This has proved to be a very successful way of supporting this important government backed study and a credit to the entire team as they were able to adapt so quickly to the new set-up.

A further press release describing the study is also available on UK government web pages.

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